18th-century Venetian sonatas for flute and recorder in opulently scored, historically informed performances.
Venice supported a healthy industry of both recorder manufacture and music for the instrument during the 18th century. Benedetto Marcello and the lesser-known Paolo Benedetto Bellinzani (1686 -1757) both composed stylish collections of sonatas for the Baroque flute which are excerpted here, interpolated with the arrangement of a concerto by Vivaldi, drawn from his ‘L’estro armonico’ collection and originally scored for two violins and orchestra.
The collections by Bellinzani and Marcello were among the first such dedicated to the recorder to be published in Italy; each sonata within them follows a Corellian template of four brief movements alternating slow and fast tempi, lively in spirit whatever the speed. The works by Bellinzani make an especially attractive discovery: In their day his compositions enjoyed great popularity, for their unusual combination of learned counterpoint and sensitively moulded melody.
This album marks Manuel Staropoli’s third album for Brillliant Classics, after well-received collections of Vivaldi trio sonatas (BC94173) and the complete royal consort music written by Robert de Visée (BC95595). Having studied with luminaries of his instrument such as Bartold Kuijken and Dan Laurin, he is now a professor of Baroque flute himself at the Tartini Conservatoire in Triste.
Staropoli is joined here not by a conventional harpsichord accompaniment but a lavishly appointed basso continuo section, whose members are also established members of Italy’s flourishing period-instrument scene. Manuel Tomadin’s fine musicianship may be sampled on several previous Brilliant Classics releases such as the organ music of Krebs (BC95363), Lübeck (BC95453) and Erich, Druckenmüller and Saxer, reviewed in glowing terms by MusicWeb International: ‘Tomadin is an excellent interpreter, who has much feeling for German Baroque organ music. He has made several fine recordings for Brilliant Classics, and this is another jewel in his crown.’
The recorder has a long history that closely links it to Venice. Since the dawn of instrumental music, this instrument reveals remarkable success due to its simplicity, but also versatility in imitating the human voice.
This new recording presents Sonatas for the recorder by Venetian composers: Benedetto Marcello, Paolo Bellinzani and Antonio Vivaldi, music of great beauty and radiance, like the city it was born in, Venice, La Serenissima.
Played by excellent Italian soloists: Manuel Staropoli as recorder soloist and a continuo group led by keyboard player Manuel Tomadin.